10 easy ways to brighten a dark room

The Shutter Store 3/11/2019 9:55:32 AM Benefits of Shutters, Home Decor and Design
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Pic credit: The Shutter Store

Our tips for brightening a dark room

1. Choose white and bright decor

While this may seem like the most obvious solution, it’s obvious for a scientific reason. The lighter your walls are, the more light they’ll reflect. Choose a white paint that is most suited to the location of your room – warmer whites for north-facing rooms and cooler whites if your room faces south – then grab the roller! For best results, coat all surfaces and finishes, from the ceilings and walls, to the doors and skirting boards with similar neutral, light reflecting colors. Whitewashing the walls can also prove cost effective in the future – it’s the ideal way to keep the backdrop neutral whilst you switch up furniture and accessories, so there’ll be no costly re-painting jobs when you fancy a change in decor.

2. Mirror, mirror

Another quick fix solution for brightening up your room is to add plenty of mirrors. Mirrors double the amount of sunlight by letting it bounce off reflective surfaces. The best place to position mirrors is opposite windows, making it seem like you’ve added another window to the space. The addition of mirrors doesn’t just increase the amount of light that enters the room, it also gives a designer finish. There’s an abundance of styles to choose from, such as Venetian, antique, sunburst and industrial-style mirrors. In place of a gallery wall of pictures, why not incorporate a display of hanging mirrors to create a focal feature? They look awesome, they're affordable and they're easy to DIY. 

3. Opt for light reflecting surfaces

Remember it’s not just mirrors that can reflect light – mirrored coffee tables, lacquered furniture and metallic accessories can lighten a dark room. Adding these items to a dark space can instantly bounce around the light and brighten up the general ambience. Bring in objects like silver photo frames, brass candlesticks and glass chandeliers to give the subtle effect of increased light. 

4. Use see through decor to brighten a room

Filling the room with dark oppressive furniture is a sure-fire way of sucking all the light from your space. With that in mind, how about considering a scattering of see-through chairs, coffee tables and side tables – there are some stylish acrylic pieces on the market that add the wow factor, along with plenty of glass table tops and cabinets. What’s more, keep in mind furniture that’s solid to the floor can make your space feel small and darker, so choose pieces that are raised to give the illusion of more light and floor space. 

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Pic credit: The Shutter Store

5. Use color to lighten a dark room

Nothing makes a room look and feel more cheerful than colorful accents and accessories. A dark room will immediately be lifted bright rugs, a rainbow of scatter cushions and fun statement accessories. Not only will these additions energize a room, they’ll also reflect your personal style and add a ton of personality to boot. 

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Pic credit: The Shutter Store

6. Choose your window dressings carefully

Thick, heavy curtains can block the light entering your room even when they aren't drawn. They can block sections of your window if they aren't pushed right to one side. To eliminate this, either go for lightweight fabrics such as linen, voile or organza to dress your windows, allowing the sunlight to filter in without obstruction or better still, choose white or neutral colored shutters to fit to your window which are proven to keep the light flooding in. We recommend café style shutters which cover the lower portion of windows, giving privacy but maximising light entering the room from the upper, uncovered section. 

7. Increase your home lighting

When it comes to artificial lighting for a dark space, one light source just isn’t going to cut it. Most people opt for an overhead fixture but neglect the rest of the room – splash out on table lamps, floor lamps and wall lights to ensure every corner is well lit. And don’t scrimp on wattage – make sure bulbs are at least 60 watts to properly illuminate the room. As a rule of thumb, multiply the square footage of the room by 1.5 to work out the total amount of wattage needed to light the space. 

8. Making structural changes? Bring in more windows

If you have the opportunity available to you, bring in light from above – enter skylights. If your windows let in very little natural light, a great option can be to install skylights to brighten your space, which also infuse an interesting architectural element to your home. For spaces where it would be difficult to add a skylight window, there are other options available such as sun tunnel light tubes, which bring shafts of daylight into dark hallways or rooms. The other advantages of having skylights and increased sunlight exposure is that it reduces the need for electric lights, as well as lessening the effects of seasonal affective disorder and winter depression.
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Pic credit: The Shutter Store

9. Let light flow with glass doors 

Let light flow freely through your home by using clear or frosted glass doors for internal rooms. This instantly brightens up hallways, entryways or stairwells, especially when they’re long and narrow, as found in Victorian and Edwardian properties. Another way of letting plenty of light into hallways is to install glass panels above or beside your front door, and even in the front door itself. Opt for frosted glass if you’re worried about privacy.

10. Prune and trim any light blocking shrubs

Whilst there’s a lot you can do on the inside of your home to brighten it up, don’t forget about the possibilities outside. If you have any unruly trees or bushes that hang over or obstruct your windows, this won’t help in your mission to lighten your interiors. If you want to remove a tree completely, be aware that you may need to request planning permission, even if it’s on your land – it’s best to check with your local authority. On a smaller scale, schedule in some trimming and pruning every month to keep on top of any trees or bushes next to your windows.
If you need more advice on window dressing, talk to our team. We're here to help you achieve the best shutter window dressing that will optimize the light in your room.  Contact our friendly team of experts to discuss your windows.